Numsa accepts Xstrata’s revised offer and calls off the four week strike action.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) representing the 4000 resolute, militant, resolute and agitated workers at Xstrata Alloys in Rusternburg, North-West, has been on a prolonged and protected strike action for full five-weeks fighting for a Living Wage and improved conditions of employment.

The strike action has been taken place amidst high levels of intimidation, bullying, provocation, torture and endless assaults of our members by our men and women in blue uniforms – the South African Police Services (SAPS) – acting recklessly under the instruction of the ruling Xstrata oligarchy.

During the peaceful and legitimate struggle for a Living Wage and improved conditions of employment our members were wrongfully arrested and impromptu charges were formulated by SAPS together with a senior Xstrata Executive member.

These acts of police reminded us of the dastardly days of apartheid era, whereby apartheid police will be used by Capitalist bosses in their failed endeavor to bash or liquidate the trade union movement in our country.

This agenda we are prepared to fight against with the same vigour and mass power we defeated the apartheid security forces and its unelected and illegitimate regime.

We are calling on senior management of Xstrata Alloys South Africa to move with speed to deal with democratization of their company, it can't be that the majority of workers who produce Chrome in their smelters is black people in general Africans in particular but when it comes to key strategic decision making in this particular company in all key position it's white males who are extremely conservative and untransformed this must be addressed with speed our members experience is that yes we are in a new South Africa but when it comes to the culture of management in the shops floor in these company we still leave in dark days of racism and apartheid so we need change now.

We warn the SAPS, not to behave like a Bargaining Council in the theatre of class battles geared towards fair and equitable distribution of income at the point of production to the benefits of our starving communities and our families, who are on daily basis are suffering as a result of the glaring realities of squalor, poverty and escalating prices of basic necessities in our modern day Capitalist South Africa.

Our long strike action has been a great success, despite stinking denials by Xstrata Alloys claiming that production has not been affected.

The Xstrata ruling oligarchy has felt our militant action on the ground and they failed to liquidate our strike action through their dirty tricks with SAPS.

Our strike action was about plight of the industry’s workers who are still subjected to poverty and unequal wages, and worsening conditions of employment.

Our strike action was also affirm our long held ideological beliefs that the only system that can extricate our people from the current crisis of poverty, poor wages and grinding exploitation conditions is Socialism, as led by the vanguard party of the working class, the party of power and working class hegemony, the South African Communist Party (SACP) of Chris Hani and Joe Slovo!

The engagements with Xstrata have been tense characterized by apartheid era arrogance and stubbornness to concede to the legitimate demands of workers.

This is displayed by their lack of disregard to the prevailing and persisting socio-economic living conditions of their workers by childishly prolonging the negotiations.

We are pleased to announce to our members and the general public that last night, Thursday 24 November 2011, we finally reached a settlement agreement informed by unity in action and successfully pushed the company to accept in principle and commit on a process of harmonization of wages and conditions of workers in all respective plants belonging to Xstrata Alloys .

The details of the Settlement Agreement are as follows:


The Parties agree to an increase in Basic Pay only as follows:-

1. Band 1: 10%

2. Band 2: 9.25%

3. Band 3: 9.00%

4. Band 4 : 8.25%

5. Band 5: 8%

6. Band 6 and 7: 7.50%


The Parties agree that all Company initiated training be funded by the Company and shall where possible be conducted during normal working hours.

Employees will receive their normal rates whilst undergoing training. Company initiated training in this regard also includes training stipulated in the Workplace Skills Plan as well as training approved by the Training and Development Committee.

This excludes any training initiatives covered by the Education Assistance policy.


The Parties agree that Artisan Assistants will be assessed in accordance with the qualifications criteria as contained in the Learnerships development qualifications framework and cognizance given to RPL as it relates to the MQA guidelines. The RPL testing process is to be concluded by March 2012.


The Parties agree that the candidate for election as Health and Safety Fulltime Representative be assessed through the RPL tool and should meet the literacy and numeracy standard equivalent to NQF level 4 to qualify for election. The election will be in accordance with the Health and Safety Agreement and applicable legislation.


The Parties agree to:

• The establishment of a high level, competent task team (steering committee) to oversee the secondary process including the 5 Grade structure;

• Terms of reference for the steering committee;

• The process findings will be presented to the Bargaining Forum (the parties’ negotiating teams) within the first week in April 2012;

• In the event that process issues as contained below are recommended for implementation, the date(s) for implementation and the timeframe for substantive adjustments will be finalised by the Bargaining Forum immediately following the completion of the specific task;

• Harmonization issues between the western limb smelters are dealt with immediately following the election of Shop Stewards in accordance with the Union’s constitution.

The steering committee will also oversee the harmonization process.

The Parties agree that all outstanding issues pertaining to the western limb harmonization be concluded by 31 March 2012, save for the basic salary and housing allowance of Merafe employees in certain bands, which will be finalised on 1 July 2013.

The Parties agree in principle that the following items be moved to a secondary process for further investigation and deliberations:

Lion basic salaries/harmonization across Xstrata Alloys smelters:

The Parties agree to utilize the Steercom in an attempt to equalize wages and conditions of employment in Bands 1- 5.

The principles are to harmonize and implement wages and conditions of employment in line with Lion Smelter’s cost to Company.

The Steercom will, with the services and advice of an expert/specialist realise the above, dealing with modalities of comparing jobs – through job profiles to be constructed by the expert – which will be guided by the principle of “equal pay for equal work”.

The period of completion must be within the 5 month period, ending 31 March 2012.

The implementation of the harmonization process will be in accordance with the schedule summarized in Annexure C effective 1 July 2012, but the adjustment in salaries shortfalls will be done in a phased approach, with the first shortfall adjustment of 25%, implementable retrospective 1 January 2012 and will be paid out during the first month following the finalization of the investigation and recommendations.

Only the first adjustment will have back pay applicable to 1 January 2012. Further shortfall adjustments (25% at a time) will be made during July 2012, January 2013 and July 2013.

The Parties further agree to an advance payment of R2000 per employee in Bands 1 – 5, payable within 7 days after signing of this Agreement, which advance is in lieu of any wages adjustments which may emanate from the investigation.

The advance will be offset against any possible adjustment in wages emanating from the investigation’s recommendations.

In the event that no adjustments are recommended, the advance will be recovered from employees over a period of 12 months, commencing in the April 2012 pay month.

6. Grade structure:

The Parties agree in principle to the implementation of a basic 5 grade structure effective 1 July 2012.

The parties further agree to the establishment of a high level task team who will investigate and advise the Parties’ negotiating teams on the various issues, including but not limited to the structure, remuneration differentials and implementation framework on the 5 grade structure.

The document presented to the Company will form the reference document for this purpose.

The task team will commence activities within ninety (90) days form signature of this Agreement.

7. – Production incentive scheme:

The Parties agree that the Company will prepare and submit a revised bonus incentive scheme to the Union within thirty (30) days from signature of this Agreement.

The proposal will be aimed at enhancing the bonus pay out to qualifying employees.

The Parties will engage with a view to reach an agreement on this issue for implementation immediately following agreement.

8. Transport allowance:

The Parties agree that this matter be referred to the Steercom task team for investigation and meaningful negotiations with due regard to the Union’s demand that the Employer pay employees a transport allowance over and above their basic salaries, alternatively to subsidise employees’ transport expenses in one or another form.

The Parties agree that implementation of either an allowance or subsidy, resulting from the investigation and negotiations, will be implemented on 1 July 2012.

9. Return to Work:

The Parties agree that all employees who were on strike will report for duty by not later than Thursday, 01 December 2011. NUMSA will call the strike off. Employees are expected to report for duty from Monday, 28 November 2011.

Employees must report back on day shift for purposes of re-induction.

10. Refusal by Xstrata Management to Extend Harmonization to Band 6 – 7

The parties agree that no employee who has been arrested and not prosecuted through the legal processes will be disciplined by management for reasons related to his/her arrest.


The Parties have agreed to record their non-agreement on the following issue:

The Scope of Agreement:

Harmonization Process:

The Union holds the view that as employees in Bands 6 and 7 form part of the scope and application of the Agreement, employees in these categories should therefore form part of the harmonization process.

Management holds the view that employees in Band 6 and 7 are excluded from the harmonization process. The Parties reserve their respective rights in this regard.

We call on all our members to return back to work on Monday 28 November 2011, the strike is over and we thank progressive community of Rusternburg and COSATU and SACP leadership who firmly stood in solidarity with striking Numsa members who participated in this very impotent strike

Aluta continua


Irvin Jim
General Secretary – 073 157 6384

Cedric Gina
President – 083 633 5381

Numsa Press release